How to Cope with Disappointment

This is one of most difficult feelings to feel.

Disappointment can show up during any time in our lives. Disappointment doesn’t discriminate, any person can experience that heavy “feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hope to manifest,” (

I remember one of the first times I felt that cruel reality of disappointment. When I was a teenager, I was rejected from an academic program that meant so, so to me. As a young person, I reacted strongly to this rejection. (I cried and cried and cried y’all.)

woman sitting in front of tree

Photo by Caique Silva on

This disappointment that I felt was laced in feeling rejected and unworthy. I had lost something that was important to me and, in essence, I was in the beginning of grieving a loss.

Sometimes, that’s what dealing with disappointment feels like: grieving. And grieving is one way to cope with this loaded feeling. Here are three ways to cope with the disappointment that comes up for us:

Keep trying.

There may be moments when we put ourselves out there and we don’t get what we want. We may have tried something new, sent in an application or did something out of the ordinary, and the results were not what we expected.

In cases like these, you may have a chance to try again. Validate the disappointment you feel, but discover opportunities to keep trying. Whether it be going to another audition, finding another job opportunity, or taking a new class, you may have the chance to have a ‘do-over’. Reflect on what you can do differently and go for it.

Exercise patience.

Y’all, patience is every bit of a virtue. When we are feeling disappointment based on time or urgency, we may need to tap into our patience to cope.

This coping skill can show up when we are working towards a goal or trying our best to make progress. We may feel disappointment with where we are on our journey (which is completely normal). Patience comes in handy when managing this disappointment. As you tap into this virtue, think about:

  • What can you do in the meantime?
  • What is in your control? What is not?
  • What self-care practices can help me with patience?

Find ways to move forward.

When there aren’t opportunities to try again and when patience is not an option, sometimes the best way to cope is to find ways to move forward.

Acceptance is a key component of this type of coping. There may have been a physical or emotional loss that took place that you deserve to take time to grieve.

Grief can be defined as deep sorrow, anguish or distress. There is no linear time line for experiencing grief — each individual has a different process for grieving.

There are a variety of ways to receive support when moving forward. One that can be easily accessible is self-validation. Show yourself self-compassion by filling in the blanks for these journal prompts:

  • I am upset about this because . . .
  • This is a loss for me because . . .
  • I was hoping that . . .

Your experiences and feelings are valid and important. In coping with this type of disappointment, try to avoid minimizing, ignoring or denying your feelings. In the same breath, know that these heavy feelings you are feeling will not keep you company all of the time. There will be times when you will feel better.

adult beach beautiful beauty

Photo by Pixabay on

With disappointment and other heavy feelings, know that you are not alone in coping. Most of us feel these feelings and are doing are best to take care of ourselves. Do your absolute best to take care of yourself.

How do you cope with disappointment?


  1. Easter Brown says

    Coping skills are essential because disappointment is inevitable. Life is full of ups and downs which are many times out of our control BUT we can decide how we choose to cope with them.
    I cope with disappointment by acknowledging it and then deciding what I want to do going forward. For instance, if I fail at something that leaves me disappointed, I ask myself, do I want to try it again or do I want to move on? I think about possible repercussions and opportunities of my decisions, weigh out the options and then do what I think is best.

    Loved this read!

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